Astria Regional Medical Center


Effects bargaining update

Your bargaining team met with Astria on Wednesday. We presented a proposal designed to soften the impact of the closure on all of us while helping ARMC nurses transition to our next chapters. We were outraged that Astria's response did nothing to recognize the hard work and sacrifice that we have all made to support this hospital and our community. Astria was unwilling to offer a severance package of any kind. Please know that this is not over. While we would have liked to reach a speedy resolution to this matter, we continue to believe that Astria must be held accountable for what they have done to us, our patients and our community. WSNA is currently exploring all potential legal remedies available to us. Please stay tuned.

In Solidarity
Your negotiating team
Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson, and Lisa Bullek

Proud of the stand we made

This morning Astria Regional nurses, physicians and a former chaplain made impassioned pleas in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to delay the sudden closure of Regional. While the court allowed Regional to remain closed, the hearing gave us the opportunity to raise our concerns and shed a light on the true impact of this decision on the Yakima Valley community. John Gallagher was on the stand to answer questions. We were heard - by the court, by the owners of Astria and by the media. Read what your colleagues had to say at the hearing in WSNA's press release.

We can be proud of the stand we made and our advocacy for this community. As a result of our efforts the impact of Regional's closure is now perfectly clear and sets the stage for future action.

Rest assured that WSNA is fighting for fair compensation for our members who lost their jobs with only a few days' notice.

"Maybe they could have rolled this out better, and there may be legal consequences. We will litigate that down the road."

"On a personal level, I'm troubled. This very clearly is bad for the community, and it's painful for everyone in this room."
- Judge Whitman L. Holt

Effects Bargaining Begins Tomorrow

Please support your negotiation team as we go into effects bargaining tomorrow. We will be keeping you as updated as possible. As a reminder, should we reach a tentative agreement, we are looking for a very short turn around for a ratification vote.

Rapid Response Meeting

We have been notified that there will be a meeting Thursday the 16th in an effort to help nurses find employment. The Washington State Labor Council will have representatives on site to help answer questions regarding unemployment and worker retraining and assist you in plotting your best path forward.

Local healthcare providers will have job placement opportunities at local healthcare facilities. Representatives from other hospitals will be on site to discuss current openings.

Where: St. E's auditorium
When: Thursday, January 16
8 - 9 a.m.
9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
11 a.m. - noon
4 - 5:30 p.m.


There is a brief presentation at the beginning of each session, so please plan to be a few minutes early and on time.

Astria combined

Images from the courtroom

Hearing granted by bankruptcy judge on WSNA’s emergency motion for reconsideration of rapid closure of Astria Regional

Legal motion cites harm to community, lack of adequate notice, secrecy of decision

The Washington State Nurses Association today filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington requesting reconsideration of the precipitous closure of Astria Regional Medical Center. Within just a few hours of receiving the motion, the bankruptcy judge granted a hearing to consider our request for reconsideration.

We need all nurses and community members to pack this hearing to demonstrate our outrage and showcase the impact of this decision on our community and our nurses.

Emergency Motion Hearing

Tuesday, January 14, 9:30am

U.S. Bankruptcy Court

402 E. Yakima Ave.

Tower Building, 2nd floor courtroom

WSNA’s motion contends that Astria failed to give WSNA and other interested parties adequate notice or the opportunity to present arguments in its secret decision, giving nurses and other staff at Astria Regional only five days’ notice of their immediate termination. In addition, the sudden closure leaves the Yakima Valley with a serious gap in the availability of heart surgery and emergency services in addition to little time to move existing patients.

We do not believe a week’s notice is sufficient for Virginia Mason Memorial and other local resources to absorb the increased demand for health care caused by the court’s decision to expedite the loss of health care services that Regional provided to the community. With the loss of Yakima Regional’s emergency room, Memorial can expect to see a nearly 40% increase in volume, according to Medicare.gov data, with only a weeks’ notice to absorb the surge. This is particularly problematic as winter weather leads to increased car accidents on I-82.

Our next step is to meet with hospital administration to bargain over the affects of the shut down and termination of our nurses. We are working to schedule the bargaining for next week. In order to hear your concerns and to provide the most up to date information on next steps as well as resources to support you, we are holding an emergency local unit meeting.

URGENT Local unit meeting

Monday, January 13

1 - 3 p.m.

Hilton Garden Inn at 401 E Yakima Ave

Questions? Contact WSNA Nurse Representative Jayson Dick at jayson.dick@wsna.org.

Important letter to members at Astria Regional Medical Center

Dear Members:

By now, you may have heard that Astria Regional Medical Center (Yakima Regional) has announced plans to shut down between January 13 and 22, 2020.

We are as shocked by this news as you are. We learned of Astria’s plans just this afternoon when notified by their bankruptcy lawyer. Astria filed a motion in secrecy and held a hearing closed to the public with the bankruptcy court asking the court for permission to close down Yakima Regional. The court heard the motion under seal—without letting nurses or other members of the public participate in the proceedings. We learned of Astria’s plan only after the court had signed off on it. The plan to close Yakima Regional is shocking not only because Astria got permission to do so in secret, but also because throughout the last seven months of its bankruptcy, Astria had never as much as hinted that it planned to close any facility.

As you can see in the linked letter, we have demanded that Astria bargain with us over the effects of its decision to close Yakima Regional and our lawyers are actively exploring all legal options for holding Astria accountable for its incredibly unfair decision to eliminate your jobs with no notice. We are also reaching out to the Governor’s office and other relevant stakeholders to build additional support.

Meanwhile, Astria has already indicated that it will consider you for open positions in its other facilities. We will do everything we can to help you navigate that process.

We wish we had more to tell you right now. But Astria has kept us as much in the dark as it has kept you. We will keep you actively informed as we learn more about all available options.


In Solidarity,

Sally Watkins, PhD, RN

WSNA Executive Director

Tele-Townhall meeting regarding PTO, vacation and holiday banks

Attention Astria nurses

WSNA knows you have been going through some very stressful times this year with the bankruptcy and all the disruptions and challenges this has caused you. We have been working with our attorneys and the bankruptcy attorney on issues regarding the handling of PTO, vacation, and holiday banks. We are also watching the future sale as it progresses.

We are holding a Tele-Townhall meeting on Tuesday, January 7, 2019. Below are the times and links for each session. It is important that everyone possible attends. Click on the links below if you plan on being at your computer or using your mobile phone.

Jan. 7, 2020

5:30-7 p.m.
Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
+1 206-485-2614 United States, Seattle (Toll)
(888) 313-0617 United States (Toll-free)
Conference ID: 419 717 865#
Local numbers | Reset PIN | Learn more about Teams | Meeting options

7:30-9 p.m.
Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
+1 206-485-2614 United States, Seattle (Toll)
(888) 313-0617 United States (Toll-free)
Conference ID: 219 051 828#
Local numbers | Reset PIN | Learn more about Teams | Meeting options

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Jayson Dick (for Yakima and Toppenish) at jayson.dick@wsna.org or 206-858-2139 and Carmen Garrison (for Sunnyside) at cgarrison@wsna.org or 206-491-9424.

Astria bankruptcy updates

There have been a lot of rumors and uncertainty regarding Astria’s bankruptcy filing earlier this month. WSNA has consulted outside counsel with experience in bankruptcy related to unions to help provide a clearer picture of what is happening and what it means to our bargaining unit. This is what we know as of right now.

1. This is a chapter 11 bankruptcy filing which means the current administration will retain control of operations and the hospital will not be liquidated under this type of bankruptcy filing. Here are the links to the current filings:

2. The bankruptcy judge upheld the decision for the hospital to honor our collective bargaining contract. Our contract remains intact. This means that you should have received the wage increase for 2019 as bargained in negotiations. This also means that you are free to cash out PTO in accordance with the provisions of the contract.

Please review your paystubs closely to ensure you are receiving appropriate pay, PTO accruals, and monitor your 401k accounts closely.

If you have been denied your PTO cash out, please reapply. If you are denied again, please contact your nurse rep as soon as possible. We will do our best to keep you informed as more information becomes available.

In Solidarity!

Questions? Call Jayson Dick, WSNA Nurse Representative at 206-858-2139.

Astria files bankruptcy. What does it mean?

We know you have a lot of questions. WSNA is actively tracking and monitoring the situation. We are committed to our nurses and the patients we serve. Unfortunately, we have more questions than answers at the moment. WSNA is contacting the employer for additional information and will utilize all available resources to protect our members' rights.

Stay tuned for more information.

Questions? Please contact WSNA Nurse Representative Jayson Dick at jayson.dick@wsna.org or at 206-858-2139.

The contract has passed!

We had another great turn out at our vote and an overwhelming “YES” from our members.

Thank you for showing your support to your negotiation team members who faced a very complicated negotiation session.

We are now in the process of collecting signatures from all members of the negotiating teams. Once the finalization process is complete you will be able to access your new contract online.

In Solidarity,

Jayson Dick

WSNA Nurse Representative

jayson.dick@wsna.org

Our vote summary is online

View the summary here.

Your Negotiation Team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson and Ty Fotheringill.

Questions? Call WSNA Nurse Rep Jayson Dick MBA, BSN, RN at 1-206-858-2139.

Vote announcement

Come cast your vote!

Your negotiating team members have worked diligently on our behalf and were successful in reaching a tentative agreement for our collective bargaining agreement. A detailed summary of all major changes that have been tentatively agreed to will be available online soon.

Date: Tuesday, April 9

Time: 7-9 a.m., noon-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.

Location: Doctors Conference Room (by the cafeteria)

The negotiation team is recommending a YES vote!

Your Negotiation Team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson and Ty Fotheringill.

Questions? Call our nurse rep, Jayson Dick MBA, BSN, RN, at 1-206-858-2139.

Local unit meeting announcement – let's try this again!

We will be reviewing the employer’s last, best and final offer. We will be going over what the offer means, the current status of the hospital and decide how we move forward. Plan on attending this very important meeting.

Where: ST E’s auditorium
When: Wednesday, March 13 from 6-8 p.m.

In Solidarity!

Your Negotiation Team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson and Ty Fotheringill.

Questions? Call WSNA Nurse Rep Jayson Dick MBA, BSN, RN at 1-206-858-2139.

Negotiation update

We met with the administration on Dec. 3 for our first session of mediation with a federal mediator. We spent much of the day bringing the mediator up to date with the negotiations and explaining in great detail our position. The day was well spent and brings us closer to a successful resolution.

The negotiation team has heard reports of nurses incurring insufficient fund fees from their banks due to the payroll error that caused paychecks to be late on Nov. 23. If you have been impacted by this, please notify WSNA Nurse Representative Jayson Dick as soon as possible.

In Solidarity,

Your Negotiation Team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson and Ty Fotheringill

Questions? Call our WSNA nurse representative, Jayson Dick, MBA, BSN, RN, at 206-858-2139.

United we stand up for patients and for dignity

Yakima Picket Notice Delivery

Our hospitals are able to serve our community because nurses and service and technical workers make the commitment every day to give our absolute best for the care of our patients. Together, WSNA and SEIU took a stand and demanded that Astria show that same level of commitment. A true commitment to the care and lives of our patients means having the supplies and staff for us to do our jobs. When the hospital fails us, they are failing our patients and our community.

That is why on Friday, Nov. 9, we marched to administration together and delivered the 10-day notice of our intent to conduct an informational picket.

We can’t sit on the sidelines while our employer makes decisions that interfere with our ability to provide care, hurts our opportunities to attract and retain great staff and disrespects our commitment and years of service to our facility.

We are picketing for dignity, respect, safe staffing and a standard of care our community needs and deserves. Join us on Nov. 20 on the picket line. Only together can we hold Astria accountable and call on them to prioritize patient care.

20181109 100330

Picket Party

Monday, Nov. 19, 2018
5-7 p.m.
Shepherds Heart Church – 2 S. 10th Ave
Pizza and soda will be provided.

Informational Picket and Rally

Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018
12:30-2:30 p.m.
On Walnut between 8th and 9th Ave
Food will be provided so you can join us on your break or lunch!

Stand up for safe patient care

Yard Sign 101518 Armc2

Together we’ve been standing up for safe patient care and working to put an end to the chronic short-staffing and low wages that keep good workers from wanting to work at our facility. We have stood up for respect and wages that recruit and retain nurses by sharing our stories, wearing stickers and showing our solidarity with SEIU. It’s time for us to keep going. We know our actions are working and now we need to make sure the hospital hears us.

We go back to the table on Nov. 5. Show your support for the bargaining team and pick up a yard sign!

Yard Sign Handout
Thursday, Nov. 1
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Doctor’s Lounge, Astria Café
Everyone is welcome!

In Solidarity,

Your Negotiation Team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson and Ty Fotheringill

Questions? Call WSNA Nurse Rep Jayson Dick MBA, BSN, RN at 1-206-858-2139.

Negotiations update: local unit meeting announcement

The bargaining team appreciates the feedback we have received regarding the lack of supplies in the Hospital. These issues were addressed in negotiations. We have received the Hospital’s assurances that the problems we are all seeing at Regional are temporary. While we all recognize that the Hospital has gone through several tough years, we also know that this hospital cannot rebuild without an investment in skilled and committed nurses.

Our bargaining team is committed to fighting for a fair contract and is proud to be partnering with the bargaining teams from Toppenish, SEIU at Regional and SEIU at Toppenish for that purpose.

Plan to attend the upcoming local unit meeting and bring a co-worker for a full negotiation update and action plan to demonstrate why our healthcare providers need to be the priority if the Hospital intends to rebuild.

Where: St E’s Hall
When: Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 6-8 p.m.

In Solidarity,

Your Negotiation Team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson and Ty Fotheringill

Questions? Call WSNA Nurse Rep Jayson Dick MBA, BSN, RN at 1-206-858-2139.

Negotiation update

For the first time ever at Yakima Regional, WSNA and SEIU 1199 came together for a joint "sticker up" campaign as our bargaining team went back to the table on Sept. 4. The negotiation team would like to say thank you to all the nurses, NACs, housekeepers, scrub techs, rad techs, nutrition staff, respiratory, admitting and everyone else who participated in demonstrating their commitment to our patients and to winning fair contracts that promotes the retention and recruitment of core staff.

We had a very productive day at the table and were able to reach even more tentative agreements. We are still very far apart on key issues regarding wages and staffing language.

We look forward to continuing the work we started with SIEU as we come together as caregivers and use our collective voice to let the administration know that we stand united, and we demand fair wages, safe staffing and safe working conditions.

In solidarity!

Your negotiation team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson and Ty Fotheringill.

Questions? Call WSNA Nurse Rep Jayson Dick, MBA, BSN, RN at 1-206-858-2139.

Negotiation update: Day 3

Little to no movement was made in reaching a fair contract during our session on the 27th of June. The employer is maintaining its position on 1.5% in each year of the contract as well as random drug screening and mandatory flu shots. The employer has also rejected our staffing language that would ensure nurses have a meaningful say in staffing conditions that would ensure safe patient care. Despite Astria’s “commitment towards bringing our hospital to a sustainable state”, their actions have made it clear that retention, recruitment, and safe staffing is not part of that vision. The Medical Center has reported that there are 80 vacant nursing positions and that they have spent approximately $3 million on agency nurses in the last 9 months. The employer’s proposals do not demonstrate a commitment to safe staffing or patient care.

Let administration know that you support a contract that promotes patient safety, a healthy working environment, and fair wages by speaking to your negotiation team members and signing our petition.

In Solidarity, Your Negotiation Team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson, Ty Fotheringill.

Questions?? Call your Nurse Rep Jayson Dick MBA, BSN, RN 1-206-858-2139.

Join us at our next local unit meeting

Your negotiation team is preparing for our third session. We need to hear from you regarding many proposals made by the employer to include:

  1. The employer’s 1.5% per year wage proposal
  2. Staffing language
  3. Reinstating the random drug testing program
  4. Contract language that requires all nurses to receive annual flu shots

Please come hear what you can do to help win a contract that is fair to nurses, our patients and our community.

Where: Conference Room A/B (in the cafeteria)
When: Monday, June 25 from 6-8 p.m.

In Solidarity,

Your Negotiation Team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson and Ty Fotheringill

Questions? Call WSNA Nurse Rep Jayson Dick MBA, BSN, RN at 1-206-858-2139.

Negotiation update: Day 2

Your bargaining team met for the second session with the Medical Center on May 23. We received the employer’s initial proposal and reached a few tentative agreements.

However, the Medical Center has rejected WSNA’s proposal to close the market wage gap with surrounding hospitals. Instead, the employer has offered only 1.5% in each year of the contract with adjustments to steps in the third year. The Medical Center currently has over 80 vacant RN positions it cannot fill. The employer’s proposal would push us even further behind the market and continue the Medical Center’s reliance on traveler nurses to care for our patients. Please stay tuned for information about what you can do to win a contract that is fair for our patients, our community and our nurses.

In solidarity,

Your Negotiation Team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson and Ty Fotheringill.

Questions? Call WSNA Nurse Rep Jayson Dick MBA, BSN, RN at 1-206-858-2139.

Negotiation update: day 1

We met with administration on April 17 and we were pleased to see an employer bargaining team with faces we recognize. We appreciate the employer’s engagement in the process.

Your bargaining team presented our opening proposal and we look forward to receiving the employer’s complete proposal on May 23. Please support and encourage your negotiating team as we fight for competitive wages and a fair contract.

In solidarity,

Your Negotiation Team: Herbie Aganda, Evette Runyon, Mark McFeeley, Laurie Robinson and Ty Fotheringill.

Questions? Call WSNA Nurse Rep Jayson Dick MBA, BSN, RN at (206) 858-2139.

Yakima Regional home health and hospice nurses win lawsuit for unpaid work hours

Judge finds they were forced to work off the clock, will rule on remedy Feb. 14

In a major victory for home health and hospice nurses, Yakima county Superior Court Judge Blaine Gibson on Thursday ruled that "overwhelming evidence" proved that home care nurses working at Yakima Regional Medical Center were forced to work substantial amounts of uncompensated time off the clock.

Several years ago, home care nurses raised their concerns about being forced to work off the clock. The lawsuit was filed by WSNA after other efforts, including numerous meetings with management and multiple grievances, failed to resolve the issue.

The evidence at the trial showed that Yakima Regional managers regularly paid nurses for eight hours of work a day, knowing that the nurses were routinely working additional hours to give patients the care they needed, complete required documentation and coordinate care with doctors and pharmacists.

After nine days of testimony, Judge Gibson ruled from the bench that Yakima Regional failed to keep accurate time records and pay the nurses for the hours they worked.

Judge Gibson also ruled that the home care nurses were denied uninterrupted half-hour meal breaks, to which they are entitled by state law, on at least 90 percent of the days they worked. The judge noted that to ensure that their patients received needed care in a timely way, the nurses had to interrupt their meal periods regularly to take telephone calls from physicians and pharmacists. Otherwise, the judge noted, the nurses would end up "playing phone tag" while their patients suffered.

WSNA was represented in the trial by Jennifer Robbins and Laura Ewan of the law firm Schwerin Campbell Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt.

Judge Gibson indicated that he will announce his final ruling on the amount of damages next Wednesday, February 14, at 2:30 p.m., in Yakima County Superior Court.

We will send you information about damages as soon as we can. Thank you to all the nurses who stepped forward to testify and for all the additional hours they put into this effort.

When we stand together, we win!
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Your contract negotiations survey is online!

The current contract between WSNA and your local unit expires March 31, 2018. This survey is our first step in our preparation for contract negotiations. Your input is critical to determining our priorities as we head to the bargaining table. It is vital that we know your issues and concerns prior to the start of the negotiations.

Take a moment to complete this survey now. The power of representation comes from the willingness of registered nurses to unite; our strength is in unity! Remember in order for WSNA to be an effective, strong, influential voice for you at the negotiation table, we need your membership and involvement.

Please provide us with your current contact information. WSNA and your negotiating team members do not share this information with anyone. It is only collected so that we may contact you if we have questions and so we may share important information with you regarding current negotiations and issues.

Please have all surveys completed by Feb. 12, 2018 so that your voice will be heard. Your input is valuable!

There is no strength without UNITY!

WE ARE ONE!

Questions?? Call your WSNA Nurse Rep Jayson Dick MBA, BSN, RN at 1-206-858-2139.